50 Youth Ministry Freebies From Leadertreks

Our friends over at Leadertreks are providing some sweet freebies! They feature assessments, team building initiatives, illustrations, Bible studies, and activities. One of Leadertreks goals is to provide quality resources for youth workers, helping them develop student leaders.

In fact, Leadertreks are so committed to helping youth workers, they give away more stuff than they sell! If you don’t know the Leadertreks team, you should get to know them! They are a great team of people to work with!!! Phil <><

Deal of The Day! $5 Group Magazine Digital Subscription

Are you kidding me? $5 for a year of Group Magazine Digital? That’s a mistake right? Well, apparently not…

And, not only that, you can now get it on Apple and Android platforms! $5 has got to be one of the best stewardship decisions for any youth worker to make. Click here to get the deal! Today only!

Mission Trip Fundraisers – Are Car Washes A Bad Idea?

Just this week my good mate Brit, (I like his name), wrote a post concerning the disparity of car washes collecting money compared to the homeless not being allowed to collect money on the streets. It’s a great post, you can read it here.

Well, here’s the deal, Brit’s post really got me thinking about car washes that many of us do to raise money for our missions trips. As Brit’s post communicated,

“I know we have a panhandler and then you have a fundraiser… but why is one who is in need forced to move on, while others who are desiring something more (new skirts, new trumpets, new shoes, bus to go on a mission trip) they can wave their signs and get hand outs.”

Read more

Youth Ministry Training FREEBIE: Jesus Centered Youth Ministry

Here is a great FREEBIE for you! Whether you are a volunteer youth worker, or full-time in the trenches you should take 30 minutes to watch this training given by Rick Lawrence from Group Publishing. Thanks Rick!

You can also pick up Rick’s new book: 99 Thoughts on Jesus-Centered Living” – by Rick Lawrence


5 Ways To Finish Out The School Year Well

It’s already April! Most people have returned from their Spring break trips, (I didn’t get away and I wished I had). For most people, their mindset is already looking to the Summer and many of you are already seeing numbers take a dip as the weather warms up or Spring sports hit full speed ahead… As many are looking ahead to the Summer months, I think it’s good not to forget the weeks leading up to Summer. Here are 5 essential elements I have tried to establish as I look to finish the school year well.

1) Survey Your Students and Leaders: Don’t assume you know what worked for your ministry in the last school year, ask your students (and your leaders). I will actually be using a Sunday morning program to survey our students and celebrate the last year. Our survey is pretty detailed, (I’ll post it soon), and gives students a good chance for students to provide us specific feedback. We use this survey as a way to design upcoming Fall and Winter programs and events. Before the summer truly hits, it’s good to reflect and digest on where you have been. I will be sitting down with some of my core leaders to review the school year and plan the Fall.

2) Head For A End Of School Year Event: We always close out our school year with a big event that is promoted heavily and incorporates celebration and fun. It also acts as a beginning of summer event in some ways too. It’s good to have defining events like this that signify a change in schedule or programming.  Read more

4 Plans Every Youth Worker Should Be Making? Part 4: A Personal Plan

What’s your personal plan? I’m not talking about loving God, loving students and doing ministry for the next year. Have you prayed about the course your ministry is taking? Have you prayed about the next steps for you? You know, will you be in youth ministry all your life or will you one day ‘grow up’ and graduate to ‘real ministry’ one day, (as we often get asked). Are you a volunteer who is destined for full-time ministry or are you being pressured to minister somewhere else because YOU think you are getting too old? Are you wondering if your current church would keep you on long-term as their youth worker? Do you dream of starting a church, but don’t know how? These are just some of the questions I hear from youth workers.

Bottom Line: Do you know where you are going in ministry? Have you stopped to ask?

Praying through and developing a personal ministry plan is crucial for you, your family, your students, your church, and ultimately your usefulness in God’s Kingdom. Here’s what’s crucial about seeking God for your personal ministry plan:  Read more

2012 Graduation Gift Set From Simply Youth Ministry

Simply Youth Ministry is offering an incredible graduation gift set for your high school graduates. It’s an incredible deal with 3 super practical and engaging books from Doug Fields, Josh Griffin, and Chuck Bomar. If you are looking to honor and love on your grads, you should check out this sweet deal! 

Phil <><

4 Plans Every Youth Worker Should Be Making? Part 3: Seasonal Planning

In my previous posts I talked about the importance of youth workers being strategic planners and people who have a long-term teaching plan. Having a good prayerful plan can often be the key to greater effectiveness and help us hang in for the long haul. I know it is not always in our DNA as youth workers to enjoy planning, (or even be good at it), but it is a necessary part of becoming a successful and professional youth worker. Having a good plan will also help us gain greater influence from parents, church leaders, (and ultimately benefit our students).

The previous two posts were pretty in depth and full of information, but today I want to be brief with this idea:

An effective youth worker is constantly planning ahead at least one season.

In terms of events, calendar and programs, it is imperative that we are working at least 2-3 months ahead of where we are. For me, I call it a season. As I write this post, my whole summer calendar is published even though here in Michigan we are barely touching the Spring. It’s so important that we work 2-3 months ahead for a number of reasons:

1) Parents Need The Information: If we want parents to support our ministries we should be getting dates to them at least 2-3 months ahead. For missions trips, however, most parents will thank you if you give them the date 6-9 months out.

2) Volunteers Can Plan Better: If you want volunteers at special events and retreats, they need to book time off and make your program a priority. If you are working a month out, don’t expect to get any support. Read more

4 Plans Every Youth Worker Should Be Making? Part 2: A Long-Term Teaching Plan

In my previous post we introduced the importance of good strategic planning in youth ministry. Even though good planning is not in the DNA of many youth workers, it is a necessity if we want to have greater effectiveness as well as being able to hang in for the long haul.

Today, we’re going to take a look at what we should consider when creating a long-term teaching plan.

1) Consider Your Audience: Depending on whether your students are seekers, strugglers, or sold-out in their faith, will depend on what you plan to teach. It’s good to have different times or programs to focus on these types of students.

For example, our midweek outreach program is aimed at seekers and strugglers. Therefore, we are intentional about hitting topics and issues that are palatable for every kind of student, whether churched or unchurched. Here we address issues like: Dealing with fears, conflict, regret, relationships, making decisions, identity, self-image, life purpose, etc etc. You get the idea.

In contrast, our Sunday discipleship program is focused on struggling and sold-out students, (usually churched), where we teach deeper areas such theology, apologetics, spiritual habits, evangelism, etc etc.

Bottom line: Your audience will determine your content. 

2) Ask Your Students What They Need: This is particularly helpful when teaching many of the felt need topics. Subjects like relationships are always going to be at the top of the list, but you will also glean much about what your students need by asking them. This might seem too simple, but so many of us negate to ask students.

One BIG way to ask students is to do a yearly survey asking them what areas of their lives they need help with. We do a survey like this every May and it allows us to develop some specific message series for the Fall and Winter months. For outreach and large group programs you will discover that you will ‘hit’ many of the same felt needs areas year after year. This is not a bad thing since our students are constantly battling through the same challenges year after year.

Bottom line: Don’t guess what students need, ask them!

Read more

4 Plans Every Youth Worker Should Be Making? Part 1

It’s Spring Break here in South East Michigan, (although we had snow flurries after 80f temps a few weeks back). It’s typical that here in Michigan during Spring break, vast numbers of families leave to head South to warm places like Florida… Except people like me… I am sitting in my local Starbucks watching the white stuff fall from the sky.

Despite the cold weather, it’s a great week for me to spend more time investing in planning while many of my students and leaders are out-of-town. Although the idea of planning can be highly offensive to many youth workers, I believe it is an imperative part to what we must do to have an effective ministry and to pursue longevity in our churches. When considering plans, here are 4 types of plans I believe every youth worker must be praying through and working on:

1) Strategic plan.  2) Teaching plan: 3) Seasonal plan: 4) Personal plan

Strategic Plan: For me, when I arrived at my current church, I prayed about and created a 3 year plan that seeks to build year after year. This plan has been adjusted a couple of times, but there has always been a plan written down. It does not have to be detailed, but must give you a big idea of what you are looking to achieve by the end of each year.

As you look at my plans below, you will see they are pretty basic and a broad brush stroke for each year. I did not look to move mountains, I simply tried to create a plan that would help to build trust, build success, and build momentum. It’s important to realize you can’t change the world at once!

As a younger youth worker I tried to change everything at once and didn’t understand the value of patience and building things slowly. I know there’s a lot of pressure to come in and change the world, but “too fast too soon” doesn’t usually last for the long-term. It’s important that a strategic plan takes time to build a solid foundation that will last for the long haul.

Here’s a snapshot of my 3 year plan I have been praying and working through: 

Year 1: Develop Relationships: Develop relationships with students, parents and youth leaders. Commit to listening first! Do not implement major changes. Listen to the people, review the programs, understand the culture. It’s imperative we listen and learn first so that we can build trust and earn the right to make changes…

Year 2: Tweak Programs: Continue to develop relationships with students, parents and youth leaders. Review the last year with students and leaders and THEN implement adjustments to existing programs and events. Create a teaching plan for the next 4 years and create a ‘big win’ event or trip that will rally people behind a cause or core purpose. (For us, this ended up being a huge mission trip that year). Read more

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